Chong-Ko, the Buddhist Robot

This, you gotta see.

You know that photo of “100,000 Burmese monks praying for world peace…”?

You may have seen this photo (or others like it) going around, posted on Facebook, etc, with a note that it’s of Burmese monks praying for world peace. That’s not quite accurate.

The actual story is that this is from a photoset of what some call a cult, based out of Thailand, whose “mass ceremonies are inspired by the head abbot’s fascination with the Muslim hajj gatherings and Nazi parades…” That description and the photoset itself — called “Close Encounters of the Buddhist Kind” — come from Foreign Policy. These photos really do beg to be seen. Only, in context.

Photo of the Day: A monk planking?

Ladies and gentlemen, set your sights upon a vision unlike any you’ve ever seen before. That’s right, it’s a Thai Buddhist monk planking.

And it’s apparently a problem that needs to be addressed.

At any rate, this wins for Photo of the Day. Hands down.

Going to Thailand? Don’t expect to come back with a Buddha tattoo as a souvenir.

Via Time, thanks to reader and friend Dan R:

The [Culture] ministry has called on tattoo parlors across Thailand to stop drawing Buddha on people’s bodies because his image is sacred and has asked provincial governors to inspect parlors to assure that they are not defying the decree.

More here. Good thing they’re not keeping people out for already having them, or we’d know a lot of ineligible folks.

Dharma tattoos go primetime, sorta, on Spike TV’s “Permanent Mark”

As a tattoo kinda guy (I know: ecccch), I have mixed feelings about Spike TV’s show “Permanent Mark,” about a dude who travels the world collecting exotic tattoos. It’s great travel-show-style eye candy, though it often emphasizes a sort of sometimes-drunk machismo to which I just don’t relate. (I guess I’m a sensitive, wussy type.) But the latest episode takes the show’s titular host to Thailand, where with the help of Buddhist monks, he receives a highly-prized — and highly painful — bit of ink from one particular monk who happens to be a true master of the art.

You can now watch the entire episode online, here.

(Dang, do I want to go to Thailand.)

“Buddhist Temple Design Inspired By Superman, Spiderman, Batman, And Keanu Reeves”

“Undoubtedly the most bizarre element of [this temple's] design is the presence of contemporary images throughout the interior. Images of the Predator from the Schwarzenegger film franchise, Spiderman, Batman, Superman, Avatar, Keanu Reeves’ character in the Matrix, rocket ships, and others line the walls. The sea of hands holding skulls rising up towards the bridge to the temple is also very striking.”

Really. You’ve GOT to see this. It’s apparently quite real. (Funny thing is I had a photo of the temple’s exterior as desktop photo for a while, having no idea what was in the inside, until now.)

And here’s some video of the exterior:

(Tip of the hat to Scott Mitchell.)

Unbelievable: The bhikkhuni ordination controversy meets “the Hitler Meme”

[April 20 update: looks like the end is nigh for the Hitler Meme.]

No matter what side you take in the debate as to whether or not Theravadan nuns should be ordained — is it progress, or is it a bending of rules that have time-tested reasons? — you have to admit: the fact that it’s now been addressed in an update of the infamous (and often funny) “Hitler Meme” is remarkable. (And sure to offend some.) Watch it here:

[It IS worth noting that in the Hitler Meme, having a particular stance assigned to "Hitler" does not necessarily equate the holder of said stance with Hitler, but with being unreasonable. Some further examples: here, and here. There's a ton of 'em.]

So, where do you stand? Check the ongoing conversation at SunSpace for more.

BIG thanks to the great Sumi Loundon Kim for pointing this one out.

What’s next, “Rick-Rolling” critics of the Dalai Lama?

Video: “Jessica Simpson Loses It in Buddhist Temple”

I’m a little late on this one, being that I’m just back from a meditation retreat — it’s best, they say, to take a little time before jumping onto one’s email, etc, to make your post-retreat “re-entry” a bit easier. But when I saw that my dharma-brother-from-a-different mother Konchog Norbu had sent me an email that said, simply, “This one’s for the Horse,” with a link, I had to open it.

And so here it is, “Jessica Simpson Loses It in Buddhist Temple,” a scene from the singer and pretty person’s new show, in which she tries to learn what beauty means to various cultures:

You know, though, I can’t really say anything bad about this. At least she went. And hey, I can’t say I was much better in more than a couple of moments during this past weekend! So, yes, this one really is for The Worst Horse — and by that I mean, the worst horse in all of us. Because we all have “a little more work to do.”

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